LANSING, Kan. — Lansing Unified School District announced extra time off for students and staff this year. Superintendent Dan Wessel calls it wellness days, focusing on teachers' mental health.
Instead of the usual three days off for Thanksgiving, students and staff get the entire week.
Wessel says it’s important to allow time to rest and recharge due to the stress staff has been under after more than a year with COVID-19.
“We have to understand that our teachers have been working above and beyond for the last year and a half, at least,” said Aaron Edwards, Lansing High School director of bands.
Edwards says after a year of remote learning and teaching, this year back in the classroom has been a big adjustment.
“It’s been a tough shift going back into normally what we do,” Edwards said.
He says they’ve had to identify gaps in learning, and between masks, politics and meeting the needs of students, "It’s been hard."
Wessel recognized the added pressure Edwards spoke of.
“The burnout for teachers and for our staff has definitely been highlighted,” Wessel said.
The feeling of exhaustion is why he initiated giving two extra days off for Thanksgiving week, allowing nine days away from school.
“Our biggest hope is that it gives us a chance to rejuvenate,” Wessel said.
To make this a reality, two potential snow days will be used for the November wellness days.
If the district reaches the maximum number of snow days this year, time will have to be made up before the end of the year.
Free Y-Care will be available for any family that needs childcare during the two extra days off.
Other area districts have also decided to extend Thanksgiving break.
On Thursday, Center School District announced it will give the two extra days off as well.
Kansas City Public Schools voted last week to give students and teachers the same break.